Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Euro's Dive: The Story in a Chart

In five months, the euro has lost about 20 percent of its value versus the U.S. dollar. Granted, the euro was probably overvalued in December--partially because of increasing discontent with U.S. dollar and the increasing irresponsible U.S. fiscal policy--but the euro's decline strikes me (a slightly informed observer) as something more fundamental than a market correction to an temporarily overpriced currency. If the stock of a publicly traded company dropped like this, its investors would be extremely worried.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Karl-Heinz Schnibbe: Mourning the Passing of Hero

Upon returning from my trip abroad, I was saddened to hear that Karl-Heinz Schnibbe had died on Sunday, May 9, in Salt Lake City--65 years plus one day after the Third Reich surrendered. I never personally met Mr. Schnibbe, but the story of him and the other members of the Hübener Group has inspired me for years. He was the last surviving member of the Hübener Group.
My interest began with the book The Price, Schnibbe's autobiography of his experiences in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The book was a gift from my parents when I was a teenager. It continued with Huebner, a play in God's Fools, a book of plays by Thomas Rogers, which was a birthday gift from my brother. Huebner probably had the greatest effect on me because in it Dr. Rogers, later a professor of mine at BYU, brought to life the dilemmas of conscience that Helmet Hübener, Karl Schnibbe, and Ruddi Wobbe--among others--faced as Mormons trying to live their religion in Nazi Germany. Some years ago, I had the privilege of seeing Huebner performed at BYU, and Schnibbe was present and was introduced to the audience at that showing.

The more I have learned about the Hübener Group, the more their story has fascinated and inspired me, both for their bravery and for their willingness to act on their beliefs in standing up to a ruthless totalitarian regime.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

First Impressions of Israel, Greece, and Paris

The mental fog is beginning to lift as my sleep patterns are returning to "normal," so it seems time to regurgitate a few first impressions from my travels in Israel, Greece, and Paris.

Quick Hits
In Israel, you can't swing a (rather thin) cat without hitting a tourist or a church (or synagogue or mosque). In Bethlehem, which is in Palestinian territory, you can't swing a cat without hitting the street merchants who swarm to sell unsuspecting tourists a wide range of generally unwanted goods. In Athens, you can't swing a dog (I didn't see any cats in Athens, but I'm told that they almost run the island of Santorini) without hitting an archaeological dig. In Paris, the city and the people are too beautiful and distracting to even think of swinging a cat (or dog). (No dogs or cats were harmed or even touched in the construction of this paragraph.)

All of the road signs were in three languages: Hebrew, Arabic, and English. Minarets were everywhere, making Israel appear more Muslim than Jewish. The landscape looks remarkably like Utah with barren hills and minimal vegetation--in other words an arid desert--except that the Israelis tend to build their cities and towns on the tops of the hills.

blogger templates | Make Money Online